Thursday, February 23, 2006

Exposing hypocracy

The World Intellectual Property Organization is meeting at the United Nations this week, attempting to carve up the developing world so that rich countries (us) can get even richer. If you're at all familiar with the WTO or the World Bank, then you know what I'm talking about. I now, you're thinking it's tinfoil hat time, but I just can't be bothered to go into details about that, and I'm sure I wouldn't do it justice. Go read some Noam Chomsky or Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

This time around however, there's an interesting monkey wrench being thrown into the problem. Public interest groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation Europe are there taking notes, and publishing them twice a day on their respective websites. The EFF has them posted here. What makes this so subversive is that traditionally notes from these meetings are published six months after the meetings take place, and only after the participants are allowed to edit the notes to their liking. Not this time around however, and the picture they paint is pretty fascinating. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're interested in this kind of thing, it's worth your time. Developing nations want and push for copyright and intellectual property laws that help the common good and promote the public domain, while western countries balk at and dismiss their proposals to shield their greed.

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